The ‘Culiacanazo’, remains an open wound

 Chivis Martinez Borderland Beat   Reforma

On October 17, 2019, the most
shocking criminal event in the history of Sinaloa occurred: a series of
decisions that paralyzed Culiacán and caused a wound that has not yet  healed.

That day, the Sinaloa Cartel took
by surprise all the inhabitants of this city, threatening them with their
rifles, blocking streets and causing terror as an act of negotiation with the
federal authorities who had arrested one of the sons of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, “El Chapo”.

The relationship that existed
between civil society and the criminal organization was fractured, not broken,
but strongly splintered, specialists have defined, because that day the
violence that they can exercise against the population was revealed.

“That day we thought that
war was going to come, we learned about all the weapons that criminal groups
could have,” said Anajilda Mondaca Cota, Doctor in Social Sciences and
Humanities for the Autonomous University of the West.

Surrounding this at stake was  a
social discourse constructed by criminal groups, that of their being protectors of
the city.

“There was the belief that the
cartel cared, but that day we wondered if they were really good, because maybe they
never were,” said Dante Aguilera, activist member of the Juan Panadero
Popular Graphics Workshop.

“This has happened because
the government has left them.”

On October 17, 2019, an operation
was carried out by the National Guard and the Army in Culiacán. They tried to
arrest Ovidio Guzmán López, Guzmán Loera’s son, and that was achieved, but that
caused an unexpected reaction, said Tomás Guevara Martínez, Doctor of Social
Sciences for the Autonomous University of Sinaloa.

“It took all citizens by
surprise, we did not expect something like this to happen.” he said.

The operation of the federal
forces began around 2:00 p.m., when Guzmán López’s house in the Tres Ríos
subdivision began to be surrounded. Fifty minutes later, the elements entered
the house and the sound of guns and rifles began to echo like a scene of

There were at least 500 armed
men, members of criminal groups, surrounding the house to prevent the arrest of
Chapo’s son, but they did not succeed.

Immediately, that violence spread
to the entire Tres Ríos sector, the Infonavit Humaya, Vicente Guerrero and
Villa Universidad neighborhoods.

There, up to 13 people were said
to have died, including a soldier and three civilians who were passing through
the place without knowing of the violence unleashed.

The armed men stole more than 50 vehicles,
threatened the people of Culiacan with rifles, some were beaten and others were

“My girlfriend and I were
coming to the University when we saw that there were some armed men. We turned
around here and it sounded  like a bullet
hit the car. It turned off and we ran, that’s when I felt that a bullet had hit
me in the leg “said Eddy, an anonymous witness.

“When we went out there were
men in front shooting at the policemen and we hardly ran when I realized that
blood was coming out of my chest, but I could not stop, the bullets hit the
floor and buzzed very loudly past until we took shelter in the supermarket.”

The strategy of the armed groups
was to hold hostage the city, close the entrances and exits to roads with
blockades made with trailers and burning cars. The same with different streets
and the airport of the city.

The violence escalated until more
than 40 prisoners from the Aguaruto prison fled after rioting and the lives of
at least 200 people were threatened in the March 21 military housing complex.

“There were armed men who
came in and wanted to take the military,” said another witness.

All that event ended with the
presidential order to release Guzmán Loera’s son. The armed men withdrew
celebrating with bullets in the air, leaving the ashes of the burned vehicles
and damage quantified in millions of pesos.

“The attack that stained
black on Thursday, October 17, 2019 was a disruptive event. It broke the level
of violence that the city had experienced, broke the tranquility of its
inhabitants, it sowed a latent fear that arises again when rumors spread or
shootings occur.  They interrupt the daily
routine again, “said Óscar Fidel González Mendívil, State Commissioner for

“The impacts of the violence
deployed that day by organized crime have not yet been recognized or studied.
As we said a year ago, the act made us all victims.”

The important thing, he said, is
to serve people with a social perspective, since everything was repaired, the
walls, the windows of the restaurants in the Tres Ríos sector, the traffic
lights and the streets, where the vehicles caught fire, however, in Culiacán
the open wounds of the inhabitants still remain.